Common Cause

Oct. 16-22, 2003
Common Cause
By Eileen Jevis/ SUN staff writer
Bishop Ludden and Bishop Grimes team up for capital campaign

Two of the diocese’s Catholic schools have joined forces in an effort to raise $4 million, to be divided equally , to maintain and improve the standard of excellence that each school is known for. Bishop James Moynihan announced that he will serve as honorary chairman of the educational campaign to support Bishop Ludden and Bishop Grimes Junior/Senior High Schools and is asking for support from alumni, parents and friends of the schools to help them successfully reach their goals. “We must take measures to slow down the rising costs of a Catholic education,” said Bishop Moynihan in a September press release. “This campaign is taking important steps to achieve these means.”

Both schools have seen continual growth in enrollment. In addition, both schools were built to house grades nine through 12, but in 1986 they incorporated grades seven and eight into their facilities. “When our enrollment was less, it was manageable,” said Dennis Meehan, principal of Bishop Ludden Junior/Senior High School. “But now we are really experiencing a space crunch.” Father George Sheehan, principal at Bishop Grimes Junior/Senior High School said much the same thing. “The incorporation of grades seven and eight into the school has put a strain on physical education classes and sports practices. We are looking to expand the existing athletic space in order to accommodate larger PE classes and the growth in high school sports.”

More than 60 percent of the students at Bishop Grimes participate in a sport. Because of the lack of space, the students are bused to other facilities to practice. Bishop Grimes presently uses gym facilities at Holy Cross Parish in Dewitt, St. Matthew’s Parish in East Syracuse, St. Rose of Lima Parish in North Syracuse and Blessed Sacrament Parish in East Syracuse. As a result, students often arrive home late from practice. Meehan echoed similar concerns. Not only has the increase in grade levels caused a crunch for gym facilities, but the rising number of girl’s sports teams has also played a role in the need for a larger athletic facility. “During winter sports, we have three volleyball teams, eight basketball teams and three levels of cheerleading teams,” said Meehan. “Spring sports consist of six lacrosse teams, three softball teams, three baseball teams and two track teams.” As a result, Bishop Ludden also travels to find gym space. They travel to St. Patrick’s School in Syracuse, St. Francis Parish Center in Marcellus, St. Joseph’s Parish Center in Camillus, and St. Anne’s School in Westvale to use their facilities.

Both Meehan and Father Sheehan stressed that an increase in athletic space is not the only goal of the campaign. With the establishment of an endowment fund, the schools will be able to provide tuition assistance to students in need. “Tuition assistance is awarded based on the need of a family. The applications will be reviewed by a private firm who will determine who qualifies,” said Father Sheehan. Current tuition assistance is funded through the Hope Appeal and the school’s assessment. The funds raised through this campaign will augment sources of funds available through the diocese. “If we reach our goal of raising $2 million, we hope to use half of that for tuition assistance” said Father Sheehan. However, it will depend upon where the donors earmark their contributions to be spent.

In addition to an increase in gym space, Bishop Ludden plans to provide each classroom with the latest technology, redesign space in the guidance office and the advancement office, continue upgrading HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems in the building and construct a new all-weather track.

Bishop Grimes will update facilities for physics, chemistry, biology and earth science labs, outfit the art classroom with new furniture and kilns and acquire new technology. They also hope to build a new football/soccer field including bleachers, press box, lavatories and a concession stand, build a new baseball and softball field and construct an all-weather running track. “We are going to need the families of both schools to come forward,” said Bishop Moynihan. “It’s a very ambitious goal, but we have the means. If we really understand the significance of Catholic education, then people will respond generously.”

For additional information, contact Mary Lou Walker at Bishop Ludden at (315) 468-0053 or Scott Barrett at Bishop Grimes at (315) 431-0610.

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